"I find it hard to turn away
a billion starving people.
But what can ONE do?
I've heard them say...
You can save someone's life!!
I wanna save a life today!
I wanna keep one alive for my Father!"
--Keith Green, "A Billion Starving People"
What is the value of just one person?
I struggle to assess that. If we were to weigh people in the balance of our minds, we would come up with a pile on one side of "good people," and on the other side, a pile of "less desirable" ones. We would consider how those people had treated us, what interaction we have with them on a daily basis, how they have chosen to live their lives.
But God doesn't take those kinds of things into account. He has different scales than we do. As a matter of fact, if we were weighed on His scales, we would all come out in the unworthy pile. Nevertheless, God has chosen to work in our lives, to redeem us, to take us from the spiritual trash heap--the grave, really--that we were in and seat us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ. With the breath of His life in our lungs, we go from trash to treasure.
God has changed the way I look at people. I have stopped seeing colors and cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. In stead I see, in each person, the worth and value that God Himself can see in each life. Each life is a treasure waiting to happen.
And this is, undoubtedly, one of His treasures.
I met Enrique a little less than a year ago on Thanksgiving Day at Musa Hospital in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. We had gone to hold babies and give care kits to their mothers, and after, we took a less glamorous detour through the children's sick ward. It is a sad place. There is a whole room for children who have been in car and motorcycle accidents, another room for preventable diseases like smallpox. We ended up in the ward for kids who have been infected by dengue fever, a mosquito borne illness that can turn deadly.
That ward is not much like the children's wards here in the States. There are about 8 rooms, perhaps 5 x 8 in size. The white walls are badly chipped. It is cramped and depressing. Still the doctors do what they can to cheer up the little patients. My friend, Nujerling Vargas Santana, was working at Musa at the time completing her residency to become a doctor. She is a beautiful, brilliant, and compassionate young woman that I had the honor of meeting a year before on my first trip to the DR with Compassion International.
Already on emotional overload, it is hard to say what happened when Nujerling took us into the little cell-room where Enrique was resting. Nujerling had a heart for this boy from the beginning. The first thing I noticed about Enrique was his brilliant smile. Really, the smile seemed bigger than he was. We gave him some candy and sat for a chat. I broke when I learned his story. He had been two weeks without eating. Malnutrition paired with dengue had landed him in Musa.
He looked too small and too fragile to be real. We learned that the next day, November 23, would be his twelfth birthday. I asked him what his birthday wish was.
He wanted clothes.
He haunted me. I left that room but my heart didn't. I sent some money with Nujerling so that she could buy him a gift for his birthday.
She ended up purchasing a toy truck, some corn flakes, a bag of apples, crayons and a coloring book, and a cake. Later, after I had gone home and the gift had been delivered, Nujerling told me that when he received the gift, Enrique cried. She had never seen anyone so happy.
His words? "Nobody ever did anything like that for me before."
I was a broken person when I came home from DR that time. I thought of Enrique constantly. I begged Nujerling to get his address so that when he was discharged from the hospital, we might be able to find him later. It was a slim chance.
At the Passion Conference in Atlanta in January 2013, I broke. They were playing the song "Shout"--
You're the friend of the ones forgotten!
You fight the cause of the weak and broken!
Let Justice roll like a river!
What justice was there for Enrique? He is God's treasure, broken and abused by this world. In my heart, I knew it was time for justice to roll like a river for his life.
I had no idea at this point if I would ever see him again. I prayed like a crazy person. I felt God's call to be His hands for Enrique. I waited for opportunity.